Comedy lessons for presenters

May 11, 2009

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Stand-up comedy routines are really nothing more than a type of presentation. Like anyone else addressing an audience, comdeians’ routines are about putting across their “ideas” or “points”, albeit in the form of a series of jokes or as humourous observations or stories.

Good comedians have to be effective presenters. They have to “grab” their audience’s attention and then keep it. And they have to be masters of timing.

I was watching Dara O’Brian’s performance on his DVD – Dara O’Brian – Live. One of the things he is particularly good at is engaging and involving the audience. He picks on individuals (note – keep well to the back if you take in one of his shows!!) holding a conversation with them, but without losing the attention and interest of the rest of the audience. There are some lessons here for presenters of lengthy “keynote” speeches and lectures.

Another feature of stand-up comedians is that they can manage to keep an audience engaged and interested for relatively lengthy periods without using slides.  They aren’t obsessed with Powerpoint but rely on the quality of their material and power of their delivery. Again there are lessons here for presenters.

Picture credit –wvermeulen via stock.xchng

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